Free Press Journal

HC to hear Ansal brothers’ pleas against framing of charges


Uphaar tragedy

New Delhi: Delhi High Court today ordered that revision petitions filed before a trial court by real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal and two others, challenging the framing of charges against them in a Uphaar fire tragedy related case of tampering with evidence, would be transferred before it.

A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul allowed the plea filed by Delhi Police in which it had sought transfer of revision petitions pending before a sessions court. “The present transfer is warranted in order to protect and uphold dignity and majesty of judicial system and to ensure faith of the citizens in courts of law,” the bench said while transferring the petitions under section 407 (power of High Court to transfer cases and appeals) of the CrPC.

The bench said that these revision petitions would be transferred to the high court and the hearing would start from March 31 on a day-to-day basis.

The order was passed after all the parties gave their consent for transfer of petitions before the high court. Sushil and Gopal Ansal, the owners of Uphaar theatre, and two other accused Dharamveer Malhotra and Anoop Singh had approached the sessions court challenging the order passed by a magisterial court framing charges against them in the case.

Later, the Delhi police approached the high court seeking transfer of revision petitions, pending in the court of an Additional Sessions Judge at Patiala House court here, to some other competent court having jurisdiction.

A magisterial court had on May 31, 2014 ordered framing of charges against seven accused for abetment of offence, causing disappearance of evidence, criminal breach of trust by public servant and criminal conspiracy.

Theatre owners Gopal Ansal and his brother Sushil Ansal, Anoop Singh, Prem Prakash Batra, Harswaroop Panwar, Dharamveer Malhotra and Dinesh Chandra Sharma are accused of tampering with evidence in the case, pending since 2006. All the accused have denied the allegations against them.

On June 13, 1997, a fire had broken out at the theatre during the screening of Bollywood film ‘Border’, killing 59 people and injuring over 100.

A court had on January 31, 2003, ordered an inquiry after some documents related to the Uphaar case had gone missing from the court’s record room. After an inquiry, the court employee was dismissed from service.